New York City's land area covers approximately 305 square miles (approximately 195,000 acres or 8.5 billion square feet). Excluding streets and major bodies of water, approximately 154,000 acres (about 6.7 billion square feet) of land, or lot area, is available for use. The citywide and borough distributions of major categories of land use are presented here in tables and maps. The major land use categories are:
One- and Two-Family Residences
Low-density residences, the largest use of city land, are found mostly in Staten Island, eastern Queens, southern Brooklyn, and northwest and eastern Bronx.
Medium- to high-density residential buildings (three or more dwelling units) contain more than two-thirds of the city's housing units but occupy approximately 12 percent of the city's total lot area. The highest density residences are found mainly in Manhattan, and four- to twelve-story apartment houses are common in many parts of the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens.
Mixed Residential and Commercial
This use is most often typified by apartment buildings with stores and/or neighborhood services on the ground level. Mixed use buildings with both offices and residences are also included, but are less common.
These uses occupy only a fraction of the city’s land (four percent), but they use space intensively. Most of the city’s 3.7million jobs are in commercial areas, ranging from the office towers of Manhattan and the regional business districts of downtown Brooklyn, Long Island City, Jamaica, and the Hub, to the local shopping corridors throughout the city.
Industrial / Manufacturing
Industrial uses, the warehouses and factories occupying four percent of the city’s total lot area, are found primarily in the South Bronx, on either side of Newtown Creek in Brooklyn and Queens, and on the northern and western shores of Brooklyn and Staten Island waterfronts.
Transportation / Utility
Airports, ferry terminals, train yards, sewage treatment facilities and power plants are among the city’s essential infrastructure uses. JFK and LaGuardia airports alone occupy almost half the land devoted to these uses.
Public Facilities and Institutions
Public facilities and institutions -- including schools, hospitals and nursing homes, museums and performance centers, houses of worship, police stations and fire houses, courts and detention centers, -- are spread throughout the city and occupy approximately seven percent of the city’s land.
Open Space and Recreation
More than one-quarter of the city’s lot area is occupied by public parks, playgrounds and nature preserves, cemeteries, amusement areas, beaches, stadiums and golf courses.
Parking includes public and private off-street lots and free-standing garages that are not accessory to residential or commercial buildings.
Approximately six percent of the city’s land is classified as vacant. Staten Island has the most vacant land with more than 4,200 acres.
Lots for which land use information could not be derived.
Introduction | Primary Land Use Tables | Land
Use Maps | Sources and Disclaimer
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